Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my world crumbling around me.
A few days ago I got a frantic email from my girlfriend Ess. One of her younger colleagues and she were talking (about what she can’t recall…it’s a blur after what comes next) and somehow they got on the topic of her age. When she told him how old she was he balked and said “I didn’t think you were THAT old.” She emailed wondering if, in fact, we are old.
“Well of course not” I told her. “Don’t be silly. Haven’t you heard? 36 is the new 25. Everybody knows that.”
I never feel old. When I go to the little girls’ school I feel like I’m playing dress-up instead of the parent that I actually am. When I talk to the principal I think ‘he can see right through me…I am NOT supposed to be here during school hours…I should be in class!’
When people address me using my husband’s last name (I use both my own and his) I feel like I should be looking over my shoulder. ‘Mrs. Who?!’ I think to myself. Sheesh! Who do they think they’re talking to?
Other than the newly discovered need to stretch when preparing and recovering from workouts, and the recent addition of what seems like 57 vitamins each day, I feel young. I really do.
That is…until tonight.
Do you know how excited I was to see Madonna perform at half-time? I was excited. And then she did. And I saw on Twitter that some people’s children thought she was dead. And I saw her almost fall when climbing atop a bleacher-type-thing. And she wasn’t dancing as enthusiastically as she usually does. And then I read that she is 53 years old.
But…but…wait a second. Wait just one second. WHAT?!
I quickly opened my laptop and created a new Madonna playlist. And then I rocked in the fetal position for five minutes. Holy hell…what is going on here? I was under the impression that I was a youngster but, if Madonna is old, what the eff?!
Since I couldn’t head straight to the doctor for botox and/or assorted lifts I logged onto iTunes and started downloading any of the top 100 songs that were remotely interesting to me. I investigated artists I’d never heard of.
Then I started thinking…last night my husband and I met a good friend for dinner. We had reservations for…wait for it…5:45pm. Oooof…that is almost undeniable proof that I am NOT a youngster. Worse than that, we had dinner AND went out for dessert, and we were in the car headed home at…again…wait for it…8pm. EIGHT PM????!!!! Seriously?!
I’m trying to get my head around Twitter, and Pinterest, and everything in between and honestly it feels a teensy bit like Greek. I don’t get it! Do you know that I actually bought the book “Social Media Marketing for Dummies” on Friday night? This is no joke. And furthermore, it’s proof that I am MOST CERTAINLY NOT a youngster.
How did this happen? When did this happen?
Okay…okay…deep breath. Let’s put this in perspective and listen to a little “Papa Don’t Preach” while we do so. My Mom, who is nearing 60, is probably 20 years younger than my grandparents were at her age in terms of her health, behavior, attitude, and how she looks. Age is no longer a number, per se, so much as an attitude. My and my friend’s mothers are activists, volunteers, business executives, artists, and entrepreneurs. When my grandmothers were that age I remember them baking cookies and golfing. Almost exclusively. Things have changed.
Maybe the fountain of youth isn’t a myth but instead it’s a state of mind? Maybe it’s a “fake it until you make it” deal in which if you think you’re young, congratulations, you are young? And maybe every once and awhile we’ll get a hostile reminder of our actual age (tonight) that will make us crawl to our iPods so we can listen to 80s music and pretend we’re kids again. But maybe, just maybe, for the most part we can be any age we want to be?
I turn 36 one month from today. I’m pretty sure I will wake up tomorrow morning, and after the stiffness subsides, and after I’ve swallowed my arsenal of vitamins, and after I put on 27 anti-aging lotions and creams, and after a big Diet Coke, I will feel young again. And I’ll drive to work pretending like Madonna still wears black heels with white socks and fishnet leggings and fingerless gloves…
TODAY: What if age is what I make it? What if I’m only “old” if I force myself to think that way (or if some icon from my youth forces me to think that way)?
PS – In case you were wondering…36 is the new 25.